UN Arabic Language Day (Established by the UN decision to include Arabic among the official and working languages of the General Assembly and its Main Committees)
2006 – The first of a series of floods strikes Malaysia. The death toll of all flooding is at least 118, with over 400,000 people displaced.
2006 – United Arab Emirates holds its first-ever elections.
1981 – First flight of the Russian heavy strategic bomber Tu-160, the world's largest combat aircraft, largest supersonic aircraft and largest variable-sweep wing aircraft built.
1973 – The Islamic Development Bank is founded.
1972 – Vietnam War: President Richard Nixon announces that the United States will engage North Vietnam in Operation Linebacker II, a series of Christmas bombings, after peace talks collapsed with North Vietnam on the 13th.
1966 – Saturn's moon Epimetheus is discovered by astronomer Richard Walker.
1958 – Project SCORE, the world's first communications satellite, is launched.
1939 – World War II: The Battle of the Heligoland Bight, the first major air battle of the war, takes place.
1935 – The Lanka Sama Samaja Party is founded in Ceylon.
1932 – The Chicago Bears defeat the Portsmouth Spartans in the first NFL Championship Game.
1917 – The resolution containing the language of the Eighteenth Amendment to enact Prohibition is passed by the United States Congress.
1898 – Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat sets the first officially recognized land speed record of 39.245 mph (63.159 km/h) in a Jeantaud electric car.
1833 – The national anthem of the Russian Empire, "God Save the Tsar!", is first performed.
1793 – Surrender of the frigate La Lutine by French Royalists to Lord Samuel Hood; renamed HMS Lutine, she later becomes a famous treasure wreck.
1777 – The United States celebrates its first Thanksgiving, marking the recent victory by the American rebels over British General John Burgoyne at Saratoga in October.
1993 – Byron Buxton, American baseball player. Byron Keiron Buxton (born December 18, 1993) is an American professional baseball center fielder for the Minnesota Twins of Major League Baseball (MLB).
1992 – Ryan Crouser, American shot putter. He had previously won the gold medal in the boys' shot put at the 2009 World Youth Championships and was a four-time NCAA champion in the shot put indoors and outdoors for the University of Texas.
1990 – Sierra Kay, American singer-songwriter. She rose to prominence as the lead vocalist of the rock band VersaEmerge.
1988 – Seth Doege, American football player. Seth Colton Doege (born December 18, 1988) is an American football coach and former quarterback, currently working as an offensive quality control analyst for USC.
1986 – Bill Stull, American football player. He played college football with the University of Pittsburgh Panthers.
1984 – Derrick Tribbett, American bass player and singer. Derrick Tribbett (born December 18, 1984) is an American musician and songwriter better known by his stage names Tripp Lee and Sinister who is the lead vocalist of heavy metal band Twisted Method.
1980 – Benjamin Watson, American football player. He played college football at Georgia.
1980 – Christina Aguilera, American singer-songwriter, producer, and actress. Aguilera ranked at number 58 on Rolling Stone's list of 100 Greatest Singers of All Time in 2008, and was included on Time's annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2013.
1978 – Ali Curtis, American soccer player. He was the 1999 Hermann Trophy and 2000 MAC Award winner before playing in Major League Soccer from 2001 to 2004.
1978 – Katie Holmes, American actress. She first achieved fame as Joey Potter on the television series Dawson's Creek (1998–2003).
1977 – Maria Brink, American singer-songwriter. Maria Diane Brink (born December 18, 1977) is an American singer and songwriter, best known as the frontwoman of American metalcore band In This Moment.
1975 – Randy Houser, American singer-songwriter and guitarist. It was a Top 20 hit on the Billboard country singles chart and the title track to his debut album of the same name, which also produced his first Top 5 hit, "Boots On".
1974 – Peter Boulware, American football player and politician, was a linebacker in the National Football League (NFL) for nine seasons. He played college football for Florida State University, and was recognized as an All-American.
1972 – Raymond Herrera, American drummer and songwriter. Raymond Herrera (born December 18, 1972) is best known as the former drummer and founding member of the heavy metal band Fear Factory.
1970 – Lucious Harris, American basketball player. Harris (born December 18, 1970) is an American former professional basketball player who was selected by the Dallas Mavericks in the second round (28th pick overall) of the 1993 NBA draft.
1970 – Rob Van Dam, American wrestler. Rob Szatkowski (born December 18, 1970), better known by his ring name Rob Van Dam (frequently abbreviated to RVD), is an American professional wrestler and actor who is signed to Impact Wrestling.
1968 – Casper Van Dien, American actor and producer. Casper Robert Van Dien Jr. (born December 18, 1968) is an American actor and producer.
1965 – Shawn Christian, American actor, director, and screenwriter. Shawn Patrick Christian (born December 18, 1965) is an American television and film actor.
1964 – Don Beebe, American football player and coach. Don Lee Beebe (born December 18, 1964) is a former American football wide receiver who played in the National Football League (NFL) for nine seasons, primarily with the Buffalo Bills.
1964 – Stone Cold Steve Austin, American wrestler and producer. Steve Austin (born Steven James Anderson on December 18, 1964, later Steven James Williams), better known by the ring name Stone Cold Steve Austin, is an American actor, producer, television host and retired professional wrestler.
1963 – Brad Pitt, American actor and producer. He has received multiple awards, including two Golden Globe Awards for his acting, and an Academy Award and a Primetime Emmy Award as producer under his production company, Plan B Entertainment.
1963 – Charles Oakley, American basketball player and coach. A power forward, he consistently ranked as one of the best rebounders in the NBA.
1963 – Greg D'Angelo, American drummer. Gregory D’Angelo, (born 18 December 1963, in Brooklyn, New York) is a drummer most famous for his work in the American band White Lion.
1963 – Karl Dorrell, American football player and coach. Dorrell most notably served as the head football coach of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) from 2003 to 2007, compiling a record of 35–27.
1961 – Daniel S. Loeb, American businessman and philanthropist, founded Third Point Management. He is the founder and chief executive of Third Point, a New York-based hedge fund focused on event-driven, value-oriented investing with $10.8 billion in assets under management, as of March 2016.
1961 – Leila Steinberg, American singer, producer, author, and poet. Leila Steinberg (born December 18, 1961) is an American manager, business woman, educator, writer, poet, and founder of AIM4TheHeART, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to helping at-risk youth find their voice using an emotional literacy curriculum and writing workshops.
1958 – Julia Wolfe, American composer and educator. Julia Wolfe (born December 18, 1958 in Philadelphia) is an American composer and professor of music at New York University.
1954 – Ray Liotta, American actor. Raymond Allen Liotta (Italian: ; born December 18, 1954) is an American actor, voice actor and film producer.
1953 – Elliot Easton, American guitarist and singer. His guitar solos are an integral part of the band's hit singles.
1952 – John Leventhal, American songwriter and producer. John Leventhal (born December 18, 1952) is a five time Grammy Award-winning musician, producer, songwriter, and recording engineer who has produced albums for William Bell, Michelle Branch, Rosanne Cash, Marc Cohn, Shawn Colvin, Rodney Crowell, Jim Lauderdale, Joan Osborne, Loudon Wainwright III, The Wreckers and many others.
1950 – Leonard Maltin, American historian, author, and critic. Leonard Michael Maltin (born December 18, 1950) is an American film critic and film historian, as well as an author of several mainstream books on cinema, focusing on nostalgic, celebratory narratives.
1950 – Randy Castillo, American drummer and songwriter (d. 2002), was an American musician. He was Ozzy Osbourne's drummer during the mid-1980s to the early 1990s, and later as drummer for Mötley Crüe, from 1999 to his death in 2002.
1949 – David A. Johnston, American volcanologist and geologist (d. 1980), was an American United States Geological Survey (USGS) volcanologist who was killed by the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington.
1946 – Steve Biko, South African activist, founded the Black Consciousness Movement (d. 1977), was a South African anti-apartheid activist. Ideologically an African nationalist and African socialist, he was at the forefront of a grassroots anti-apartheid campaign known as the Black Consciousness Movement during the late 1960s and 1970s.
1946 – Steven Spielberg, American director, producer, and screenwriter, co-founded DreamWorks. Steven Allan Spielberg (/ˈspiːlbɜːrɡ/; born December 18, 1946) is an American filmmaker.
1943 – Alan Rudolph, American director and screenwriter. Alan Steven Rudolph (born December 18, 1943) is an American film director and screenwriter.
1943 – Bobby Keys, American saxophone player (d. 2014), was an American saxophonist who performed with other musicians as a member of several horn sections of the 1970s. He appears on albums by the Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Harry Nilsson, Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, George Harrison, John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker and other prominent musicians.
1942 – Lenore Blum, American mathematician and academic. Lenore Carol Blum (née Epstein, born December 18, 1942) is an American computer scientist and mathematician, formerly a distinguished career professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University.
1941 – Joan Wallach Scott, American historian, author, and academic. Scott is known for her work in feminist history and gender theory, engaging post-structural theory on these topics.
1941 – Sam Andrew, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 2015), was an American musician, singer, songwriter, composer, artist and founding member and guitarist of Big Brother and the Holding Company. During his career as musician and composer, Andrew had three platinum albums and two hit singles.
1941 – Wadada Leo Smith, American trumpet player and composer. Ishmael Wadada Leo Smith (born December 18, 1941) is an American trumpeter and composer, working primarily in the fields of avant-garde jazz and free improvisation.
1939 – Harold E. Varmus, American biologist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate, was director of the National Institutes of Health from 1993 to 1999 and the 14th Director of the National Cancer Institute from 2010 to 2015, a post to which he was appointed by President Barack Obama. He was a co-recipient (along with J.
1938 – Joel Hirschhorn, American songwriter and composer (d. 2005). He won the Academy Award for Best Original Song on two occasions.
1937 – Nancy Ryles, American politician (d. 1990), was an Oregon politician. She served in the Oregon House of Representatives, the Oregon Senate and as one of three members of the state's Public Utility Commission.
1935 – Jacques Pépin, French-American chef and author. Jacques Pépin French pronunciation: (born December 18, 1935) is a French born, American chef, author, culinary educator, television personality, and artist.
1934 – Marc Rich, Belgian-American businessman, founded Glencore (d. 2013), was an international commodities trader, hedge fund manager, financier and businessman. He founded the commodities company Glencore, and was later indicted in the United States on federal charges of tax evasion and making oil deals with Iran during the Iran hostage crisis.
1930 – Moose Skowron, American baseball player (d. 2012), was an American professional baseball first baseman. He played 13 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1954 to 1967 for the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, Washington Senators, Chicago White Sox, and California Angels.
1929 – Gino Cimoli, American baseball player (d. 2011), was an American professional baseball outfielder. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Brooklyn / Los Angeles Dodgers, St.
1928 – Harold Land, American tenor saxophonist (d. 2001), was an American hard bop and post-bop tenor saxophonist. Land developed his hard bop playing with the Max Roach/Clifford Brown band into a personal, modern style; often rivalling Clifford Brown's instrumental ability with his own inventive and whimsical solos.
1927 – Ramsey Clark, American lawyer and politician, 66th United States Attorney General. Kennedy and Lyndon B.
1924 – Cicely Tyson, American actress. Tyson (born December 19, 1924) is an American actress and former fashion model.
1922 – Esther Lederberg, American microbiologist (d. 2006), was an American microbiologist and a pioneer of bacterial genetics. Notable contributions include the discovery of the bacterial virus λ, the transfer of genes between bacteria by specialized transduction, the development of replica plating, and the discovery of the bacterial fertility factor F (F plasmid).
1917 – Ossie Davis, American actor and activist (d. 2005), was an American film, television and Broadway actor, director, poet, playwright, author, and civil rights activist.
1916 – Betty Grable, American actress, singer, and dancer (d. 1973), was an American actress, pin-up girl, dancer, model, and singer. Her 42 films during the 1930s and 1940s grossed more than $100 million, and she set a record of 12 consecutive years in the top 10 of box office stars.
1916 – Douglas Fraser, Scottish-American trade union leader and academic (d. 2008), was a Scottish-American union leader. He was president of the United Auto Workers from 1977 to 1983 and an adjunct professor of labor relations at Wayne State University for many years.
1913 – Alfred Bester, American author and screenwriter (d. 1987), was an American science fiction author, TV and radio scriptwriter, magazine editor and scripter for comic strips and comic books. He is best remembered for his science fiction, including The Demolished Man, winner of the inaugural Hugo Award in 1953.
1913 – Ray Meyer, American basketball player and coach (d. 2006), was an American men's collegiate basketball coach from Chicago, Illinois. He was well known for coaching at DePaul University from 1942 to 1984, compiling a 724–354 record.
1911 – Jules Dassin, American-Greek actor, director, producer, and screenwriter (d. 2008), was an American film director, producer, writer and actor. He was a subject of the Hollywood blacklist in the McCarthy era, and subsequently moved to France, where he revived his career.
1910 – Abe Burrows, American author, playwright, and director (d. 1985), was an American humorist, author, and director for radio and the stage. He won a Tony Award.
1908 – Paul Siple, American geographer and explorer (d. 1969), was an American Antarctic explorer and geographer who took part in six Antarctic expeditions, including the two Byrd expeditions of 1928–1930 and 1933–1935, representing the Boy Scouts of America as an Eagle Scout. In addition to being an Eagle Scout, Siple was also a Sea Scout.
1907 – Bill Holland, American race car driver (d. 1984), was an American race car driver from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who won the Indianapolis 500 in 1949 and finished second in 1947, 1948 and 1950. He also was runner up in the 1947 AAA National Championship.
1907 – Lawrence Lucie, American guitarist and educator (d. 2009), was an American jazz guitarist.
1904 – George Stevens, American director, producer, screenwriter, and cinematographer (d. 1975). Legion of Merit star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (1954) National Board of Review Award for Best Director
1897 – Fletcher Henderson, American pianist and composer (d. 1952), was an American pianist, bandleader, arranger and composer, important in the development of big band jazz and swing music. He was one of the most prolific black musical arrangers and, along with Duke Ellington, is considered one of the most influential arrangers and bandleaders in jazz history.
1890 – Edwin Howard Armstrong, American engineer, invented FM radio (d. 1954), was an American electrical engineer and inventor, who developed FM (frequency modulation) radio and the superheterodyne receiver system. He held 42 patents and received numerous awards, including the first Medal of Honor awarded by the Institute of Radio Engineers (now IEEE), the French Legion of Honor, the 1941 Franklin Medal and the 1942 Edison Medal.
1888 – Robert Moses, American urban planner, designed the Northern State Parkway and Southern State Parkway (d. 1981), was an American public official who worked mainly in the New York metropolitan area. Known as the "master builder" of mid-20th century New York City, Long Island, Rockland County, and Westchester County, he is sometimes compared to Baron Haussmann of Second Empire Paris, and was one of the most polarizing figures in the history of urban development in the United States.
1886 – Ty Cobb, American baseball player and manager (d. 1961). Tyrus Raymond Cobb (December 18, 1886 – July 17, 1961), nicknamed The Georgia Peach, was an American Major League Baseball (MLB) outfielder.
1884 – Emil Starkenstein, Czech pharmacologist, co-founded clinical pharmacology (d. 1942), was a Czech-Jewish pharmacologist and one of the founders of clinical pharmacology. He was killed in the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp along with a few hundred refugees from Amsterdam after an incident in which a Dutch Jew resisted a Nazi patrol.
1882 – Richard Maury, American-Argentinian engineer, designed the Salta–Antofagasta railway (d. 1950), was an American railway engineer and naturalized Argentine. He became known for the project of the Argentine "Ramal C-14" of the Ferrocarril General Manuel Belgrano and the touristic Tren a las Nubes.
1875 – Matt McGrath, Irish-American hammer thrower (d. 1941), was a member of the Irish American Athletic Club, the New York Athletic Club, and the New York City Police Department. At the time of his death at age 65, he attained the rank of Inspector, and during his career received the NYPD's Medal of Valor twice.
1873 – Francis Burton Harrison, American general and politician, 6th Governor-General of the Philippines (d. 1957), was an American-born Filipino statesman who served in the United States House of Representatives and was appointed Governor-General of the Philippines by President of the United States Woodrow Wilson. Harrison was a prominent adviser to the president of the Philippine Commonwealth, as well as the next four Presidents of the Republic of the Philippines.
1869 – Edward Willis Redfield, American painter and educator (d. 1965), was an American Impressionist landscape painter and member of the art colony at New Hope, Pennsylvania. He is best known today for his impressionist scenes of the New Hope area, often depicting the snow-covered countryside.
1867 – Foxhall P. Keene, American polo player and horse breeder (d. 1941), was an American thoroughbred race horse owner and breeder, a world and Olympic gold medallist in polo and an amateur tennis player. He was rated the best all-around polo player in the United States for eight consecutive years, a golfer who competed in the U.S.
1860 – Edward MacDowell, American pianist and composer (d. 1908), was an American composer and pianist of the late Romantic period. He was best known for his second piano concerto and his piano suites Woodland Sketches, Sea Pieces and New England Idylls.
1835 – Lyman Abbott, American minister, theologian, and author (d. 1922). Abbott (December 18, 1835 – October 22, 1922) was an American Congregationalist theologian, editor, and author.
1825 – Charles Griffin, American general (d. 1876). Charles Griffin (December 18, 1825 – September 15, 1867) was a career officer in the United States Army and a Union general in the American Civil War.
1825 – John S. Harris, American surveyor and politician (d. 1906), was an American politician for the state of Louisiana and member of the Republican Party. Born to a farm family in Truxton, New York, Harris was a delegate to the Louisiana state constitutional convention in 1868.
1661 – Christopher Polhem, Swedish physicist and inventor (d. 1751), was a Swedish scientist, inventor and industrialist. He made significant contributions to the economic and industrial development of Sweden, particularly mining.